Arteza, Castle Art, Mont Marte, Artina, Artsnacks, Royal & Langnickel, Zenacolor, Artify and many others are well-known brands for those who cultivate artistic hobbies and do not want to spend big bucks. But are their products worth buying?
Arteza, Artify, the others and the art of rebranding
Most of these brands are actually empty boxes. They are brands created by third-party companies to market usually low-quality products, pumping them up with a bit of marketing and attractive packaging.
You will all have noticed how similar the products of these brands and especially the sets are, they look like many copies and they are. When watercolour sets have the same packaging, it means that the factory is one and then they print the different brand name on it.
Everyone tries to distinguish themselves by some detail that cannot always be integrated. That is why we speak with great certainty of rebranding. Artify, for example, has decided to include three water pens but the packaging is designed for only one pen. What happens? That one arrives whole, because inside the case, and the other 2 broken, because loose.
Note also the price difference, with the unknown Kumush'Art offering the set for 25 eurothat of Eachgoo took off from 15 to 20 eurofinally the Artify set which recently dropped from 20 to 17 euros. The cheapest? None of these three! On the same cheap line is the Magicfly set at 16 euro with 48 colours. And watercolours are best to have them already in the right colour!
In this second image we have the example of two well-known brands such as Arteza and Pentel. They look alike, huh? Apparently Arteza designed them all, at least that's what they say on the packaging!
And even though from the photos some of the examples may look more or less dull, made of different plastics, they are identical. We assure you of this, who have the Arteza, the Artify from the previous picture and other generic brand Chinese.
The only difference is that the better known brands pay the extra to have their branding highlighted. For those interested, here are the links: FOCCTS, Arteza, Pentel, Kesote.
And for acrylics, pastels, pencils... is it all the same?
Basically, yes. Even there, there is the law of taking from China, branding and reselling for triple or so. We suggest you stick to reliable brands and, when you want to save money, rely on the cheap lines of those brands.
Quick example: 24 Castle Art coloured pencils cost 18 euro, for 18,64 you would take 48 of Arteza and the result would be identical to that of Faber Castell's basic line. Yes, the basic one, the one that children use. The cost? 9 euro for 48 pieces.
Beware of sponsored reviews
As is the case in all sectors, sponsorships and the lack of control over them, even where social policies would oblige the agreement to be disclosed, are depopulated in the arts.
One example that comes to mind is the Spectrum Noir AquaBlend. These watercolour pencils are promoted everywhere with the same script of feigned surprise at the incredible yield. In reality they are very bad, with bland colours and tips that break all the time. Luckily there is a return policy with Amazon!
Another brand brought to glory by sponsorship is Caran d'Ache. Unlike Spectrum Noir, however, Caran d'Ache makes actually good products. Although not at top level and especially not products for which to spend 200 euros on a set!
Beware also of reviews by novices. Writing a review on Amazon I can be happy with the quality of the colours, without writing that they are for an 8-year-old, or be dissatisfied because the courier was late. Rather, if the investment is important, ask the buyers questions to ascertain the actual quality of the product.
Of course make a visit here every now and then, so you can read some unsponsored review ;)